Last week, Google announced that as of July 1, 2013, it was sunsetting its Reader application, which millions of people use to subscribe to and read blogs. Forty percent of my blog subscribers use Google Reader, so there’s a good chance you are one of them.
As a Google Reader user, I was surprised at first that they would get rid of such a useful product. Next, I felt nervous that I would have to resubscribe to all the blogs I follow. When I visited the Google Reader site, a window popped up with a link that showed how to download your subscriptions so you could upload to another blog reader app. So then I felt just slightly inconvenienced. After the announcement made it around social media, news came out that the app I use to access Google Reader on the go, Feedly, would offer a seamless transition later in the year. So then I stopped worrying about it at all.
I realized that I was not just a primary user of Google Reader. The primary impact of the change was on people who use Google Reader to read blogs.
But what about the secondary users? What about the people and organizations who rely on Google Reader to deliver their blog’s content to the primary users? I am one of those affected by the secondary impact of the change. Forty percent of my blog subscribers use Google Reader. Certainly it would impact my readership if suddenly all those readers were lost. And more importantly, it would impact my readers to not have access to the insights on leading change without authority that they use to make a difference at work.
But Google was only addressing the primary impact – the readers – and not the secondary impact – those whose readers use Google Reader to access their stuff. Seems like a giant oversight, right?
Yet it’s possible you have the same blind spot in your own change. We tend to think of the primary users of a system or process as the ones who need to change and thus are most impacted by the change. It may not be as obvious that there are people who are secondarily impacted. Are there others who depend on people to use the system or process? Are there others who rely on the results or the output?
Best not to leave them in the lurch, having to fend for themselves. Or worse, working to stop your change from happening.
If you subscribe to this blog through Google Reader, here’s what you can do to avoid losing your feed after July 1:
Subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Not only do I include links to all the blog posts in the newsletter, but you also get special offers and a free gift when you subscribe. Use the form in the sidebar to subscribe.
(Funny enough, if you are reading this in Google Reader, you will have to click on the post in order to see and use the subscription form.)
Find a replacement for Google Reader. Here’s one list of possible replacements. The one I use is Feedly. Once you’ve selected a replacement, you will need to download you subscriptions from Google Reader and then import them into the new application.
I’d hate to see you disappear when Google flips the switch July 1. Please write a comment if you have any questions.
Thank you for reading!